An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a harsh undulating landscape.
The St Cleer Holy Well, with its granite baptistry and cross, is a much more recent relic – dating from the 15th century. The water from the well is reputed to have been used as a cure for insanity.
Another relic at St Cleer is King Doniert’s Stone. This site has two decorated cross bases and a cross shaft with a Latin inscription to Durngarth, King of Cornwall, drowned AD 875.
Bodmin Moor retains a sense of wilderness and remains a place of escape from the everyday pressures of the 21st century.
The moor is classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has a harsh undulating landscape where the forces of nature are still dominant. Its highest point is Brown Willy which is 420 metres above sea level.
Historical remains can clearly be seen on the open moor. The earliest of these date from the Neolithic period of around 4,000 - 6,000 years ago.
Cornwall appears to have been divided into several territories during Neolithic times with Roughtor on the moor at the centre of one such territory.
Long cairns and hilltop enclosures are reminders of those ancient days. From the Bronze Age,
3,000-4,000 years ago, there are stone circles, stone rows and cairns, ritual relics from mainly farming communities.
The Hurlers at Minions near Liskeard are three stone circles from the early Bronze Age.
Legend has it that men were turned to stone here as a punishment for playing the Cornish game of hurling on a Sunday.
Stowe’s Pound at Minions dates from the late Neolithic to early Bronze Age. The large stone hilltop enclosure has traces of more than 100 roundhouse platforms.
Meanwhile, the Trethevy Quoit at nearby St Cleer is an impressive Neolithic burial chamber, 2.7 metres high with five standing stone and a large capstone.
Some areas of the moor have never been enclosed while others were once enclosed and farmed at different times – including the Middle Ages – but have since been reclaimed by nature.
Poor soil has restricted the type of plants that grow on the moor. Grass, heather, gorse and bracken dominate on the downs while there are large areas of bog in the valleys.
These bogs developed following alterations to the natural drainage patterns caused by the working of stream beds for tin.
High above the valleys, the tors on the moor have been eroded by wind and rain over thousands of years.
Their stacks form particular landmarks including the Cheesewring near Minions.
Other notable features on the landscape are the large coniferous plantations, the Siblyback and Colliford reservoirs, Dozmary Pool, mining ruins, the Golitha Falls, and china clay workings.
A notable church is Altarnun’s St Nonna, known as the Cathedral of the Moor. It features 70 carved 16th century bench ends.
Meanwhile, the church at St Neot has some fine medieval stained glass.
Cornish Visitor Guide - Spring 2017 19
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